Michelle Dean · 06/11/14 09:34AM

For reasons known only to itself, Vanity Fair has devoted some 3500 words to the hot-button issue of how some high-status literary critics don't like The Goldfinch. Representative phrasing: "But, in the literary world, there are those who profess to be higher brows still than The New York Times..."

Happy Birthday to History's Great Critic-Gossip, Edmund Wilson

Michelle Dean · 05/08/14 10:30AM

Edmund Wilson, the noted critic and public intellectual, was born on this day in 1895. (He died in 1972.) Wilson had the kind of come-to-New-York-and-pal-around-with-writer-celebrities life that quite a lot of people still dream of. He was also a notorious gossip.

Book Excerpt: Ellen Willis on "Bringing in the Noise" of Trash TV

Ellen Willis · 05/01/14 09:01AM

Ellen Willis is not a household name, but in a just world she would be. A leftist cultural critic and feminist, Willis was a defining figure of the New York cultural scene in the 1960s and 1970s. She was probably best known to the public as the first pop music critic the New Yorker ever had, a gig she held from the late 1960s into the 1970s. Music was not her only passion, though. She was an outspoken feminist commentator, and one of the early members of the New York Radical Women's collective, the effective cradle of the women's movement in New York. (Check out Susan Faludi's piece on the collective from the New Yorker last year for more details.) Willis died in 2006, but her writing has been experiencing a revival of late among younger pop culture critics, who are attracted by the energy and intelligence of Willis' work.

Lady Gaga Goes on Annoying Attack Against Times Fashion Critic

Brian Moylan · 09/01/11 01:22PM

Lady Gaga has used her latest column in V magazine to go after New York Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn and institutionalized critics in general. She'd much rather all the bloggers of the world be judging fashion instead of, you know, the professionals.

Spoiler Alerts: A Manifesto

Brian Moylan · 07/01/11 02:41PM

America loves having its movies and television shows recapped, reviewed, and regurgitated back to them, but the one thing that it hates more and more is having the events of those things spoiled by reviewers. It's time for a guide on what constitutes a spoiler and what does not.

Shut Up, Katie Roiphe

Hamilton Nolan · 06/24/11 09:37AM

Katie Roiphe, one of the leading sex-opinion-havers of American letters, is the upper crust version of crazy cat woman Andrea Peyser. While Andrea only broadcasts her psychologically-fraught Victorian sexual shame to tabloid readers, Katie Roiphe gets to publish hers in all the favorite news outlets of East Coast Ivy Leaguers. She calls male novelists fey pussies in the NYT Book Review! She told women how to do divorce right in the pages of New York magazine! She pooh-poohed the notion of date rape all over the place! And now, she's taken to Slate—the Gawker of bored academics—to reveal how jokey children's book "Go The Fuck to Sleep" reveals that "yuppie" parents (unlike Katie Roiphe) are doing sex wrong.

How Can Someone Hate Mad Men?

Brian Moylan · 02/03/11 05:42PM

Prestige drama Mad Men is beloved by critics and those who give out awards. Now one critic is railing against the show's first four seasons as "weak" and "haphazard." Could he possibly be right?

Roger Ebert Gets a Prosthetic Chin

Adrian Chen · 01/20/11 08:14PM

Roger Ebert, who lost his lower jaw to cancer, just got a brand new prosthetic chin made out of silicone. Looks pretty good! Ebert says he'll wear the prosthetic during his new PBS show.

L.A. Times Restaurant Critic Outed by Enraged Restaurateur

Brian Moylan · 12/22/10 02:39PM

When the owner of a Beverly Hills eatery spotted the L.A. Times restaurant critic in his lobby, he refused her service and took her picture, making her identity publicly available for the first time. Kiss anonymity goodbye, S. Irene Virbila.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 Is Mostly Fantastic

Richard Lawson · 11/18/10 12:10PM

So say the critics anyway! Well, the critics who have joy and whimsy in their hearts and aren't soul-dead monsters whose chest cavities are full of nothing but discarded tin. Heh, sorry. Let's look at both sides of the debate!

The Social Network Is Getting a Lot of 'Likes'

Richard Lawson · 09/22/10 03:06PM

David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin's Facebook movie opens next week and the reviews are coming in. Surprisingly (?), stuffy old movie critics seem to think it's, well, brilliant. Let's take a look at what some folks had to say.